10 Tips to Shorten the Sales Cycle, and the #1 Hack to Close Deals Faster
B2B clients are typically big buyers but can also be slow to close. Signing deals with them usually involves multiple steps--and multiple decision-makers.
Is there a way to make this more efficient so you can shorten the sales cycle?
If you want to shorten the sales cycle, you need to understand the sales process stages, and how they differ for B2B prospects. You can avoid a long sales cycle and speed sales, but this will likely mean adjusting your current method.
First things first, your sales team needs to:
- Have a clear vision of the buying journey
- Know who the stakeholders are
- Collect objections ahead of time and prepare your answers
- Get the full deets on the selling cycle – i.e., their buying cycle – which will allow them to guide you through the virtual close.
Once you understand their buying process, you can continue with your standard sales process, now with much more information in hand to help with shorten the sales cycle and see faster sales.
Parallelize the Process - A Stunningly Simple Hack
If you want to close the deal a few weeks or months earlier than that, all you need is to keep this one incredible hack in mind: parallelize the process.
It’s simple: look at your prospect’s sales cycle and pinpoint which steps you can go through at the same time.
Most companies run into problems because they go through the sales cycle sequentially. Before moving to legal or procurement, they check every box with the decision maker. Yes, that means you’ll get a firm answer before proceeding. But it also means you’ll often trap yourself in sales limbo.
If you want speed, you need to split the cycle up into several threads that run in parallel.
What does that mean? Rather than doing steps 1, then 2, then 3, 4, 5, and so on, you try to find opportunities to take subsequent steps while the initial ones are still in progress. Yep, it’s possible to start step five while you're still working on accomplishing step 2.
Without a time machine, even.
Here's an Example of How to Use Parallelizing the Process Can Speed Up Your Close Time:
This is how a typical B2B (though simplified) sales cycle looks:
- You work on getting green-lit by the various stakeholders.
- Once that’s done, you talk with their procurement department, which specializes in purchasing from outside vendors.
- After that, you go through legal, deal with all the contracting issues, and enjoy* a long back-and-forth between your legal department and their legal department before the contracts get approved by their legal department.
*Actual enjoyment of legal negotiations may not occur
Rather than doing this one step after the other, you should get started on these three threads simultaneously to shorten the sales cycle.
Luckily for you, there’s a script for that.
Here's What You Say:
When you’re talking to the prospect, and it seems like this is a highly probable opportunity, you should tell them:
After our initial call, it seems this would be a great fit.
We know we have to complete the different steps and talk to the different departments and stakeholders to make sure the entire organization is on board.
We've had really good experiences once we've established that somebody is a great fit. Most of the time, we're going to be able to work with you and make the deal happen.
To make it happen even smoother and faster, though, we would appreciate if you could put us in touch with your procurement and legal departments now, so we can start those processes in parallel. That way, those steps won’t slow us down later on.
Does that sound good?
Nine out of ten times, people will say, "Yeah, that actually sounds like a really good idea." Then they’ll put you in touch with procurement and legal so you can start the process even ahead of the final agreements. This can cut weeks and even months off the time the sales cycle takes.
Et voilà: the shorter sales cycle you, and your prospect, deserve.
10 Supplemental Tips to Shorten Your Sales Cycle
If you’re looking to lead prospects to a purchase decision in less time than ever—and we think you are—check out the following 10 sales strategy tips to shorten your sales cycle.
(Psst … make sure you also read up on how customer support agents can help shorten the sales cycle for a complete system that will help you close deals faster!)
1. Identify and Speak with the Decision Maker
You already know how important it is to get to the decision-maker as quickly as possible. Your buyer personas and target market can help you sort this out somewhat, as can the right lead generation strategy—whether that’s on LinkedIn, through cold calling, or anything else.
Before you hone your sales pitch, though, knowing who you’re honing it for is critical. If you spend a bunch of time tailoring it to anyone other than the person who has power over the buying decision, you’ve wasted your time.
Therefore, the best way to shorten the sales cycle is to do your research, then straight-up ask if the person you’ve contacted has the power to say yes or no.
2. Prioritize Your Prospect's Problems & Needs
Make it a point to seek out a prospect’s pain points, current problems, and what they’re looking for. Then put yourself in their shoes—If you were your prospect, which of your product’s solutions would you be most eager to learn about? Follow this framework and ensure every call to every prospect is personalized to them and their needs.
Speaking of personalization…
3. Don't be a Sales Robot
Salespeople can sometimes be robots, moving mechanically from X to Y to Z on a sales call. The bummer is that if you fail to be human, you’ll probably fail to inspire your prospect’s trust and confidence in you.
If you want to shorten the sales cycle, one of the best things you can do is switch up your approach. That doesn’t mean giving up on your sales scripts.. But don’t use your scripts as a crutch, either. No matter who your prospect is and how you found them, make sure to tailor your pitch to their background, needs, and personality wherever possible.
4. Be Upfront With Your Pricing
Don’t be afraid to disclose your pricing; introduce it upfront, stand up for it, and let your value propositions speak for themselves. The bottom line comes down not to a dollar figure, but to what that dollar figure can do for your lead or prospect. If what you sell is meeting a need, then it’s worth the money. Use these smart pricing strategies to help them see that value.
5. Always Ask for Objections
Ohh, sounds scary! Why would you openly ask someone to point out the things they don’t like about your product or pitch?
Simple: asking early and often for objections allows you to hone in on your prospect's needs. It lets you hear what they need, provide your solution, justify the price point, and move forward with the sale. If possible, provide social proof or case studies supporting your product as a top-rated solution (bonus points if you can find testimonials from one or more of your prospect’s competitors!).
6. Always Be Closing...Even Before the Close
Yep, ABC starts right at the beginning of your sales pipeline. Make sure you have a goal for each meeting. Then ensure each goal is met, each next meeting is scheduled, and things always progress in the customer journey. If you stagnate, you may have just let the deal slip through your fingers.
By the way: It’s a good idea to stay up to date on the seven deadly sins of closing. That way, you won’t blow an important deal at the last moment.
7. Remove Barriers to "Yes"
Whether a barrier to “yes” refers to objections in the early part of the sales process, or actual software-related barriers that prevent the deal from closing, that’s a workflow problem you need to fix.
If your goal is to shorten the sales cycle, make sure digital contracts are effortless to sign. Pursue ongoing contact with your prospect so they’re less likely to deprioritize you. And as we said in tips 4 and 5, give them every opportunity to express their objections so that you can overcome them ASAP.
8. Use Automation to Put the Easy Stuff on Auto-Pilot
Your sales pipeline craves automated functionality the way you crave caffeine in the morning. Don’t disappoint it!
Use CRM sales automation to handle emails, SMS check-ins, social media posts, meeting scheduling, phone call functionality, follow-up timing, and more. It’s amazing how much easier your life could be if you just let the software do the dirty work.
Close has introduced Workflows as a powerful tool to elevate lead management and communication automation. With Workflows, users can streamline their processes, automating lead assignment, communication steps, and follow-up tasks. This feature is designed to reduce manual effort and enhance efficiency.
9. Prioritize Hot Leads; Nurture Cold Ones
If you want to make the most of your sales funnel, metrics are your BFF—and lead scoring metrics tell the difference between hot and cold leads.
As for prioritizing them: Clean out your CRM, put old leads on a nurturing campaign, and set a reminder to check in every six months. Don’t delete any contacts – qualified leads, nonqualified, or otherwise – until you receive a hard and fast “not interested now or ever.”
10. Never Give Up the Deal
Be persistent. Keep checking in and directly asking prospects what it will take to close the sale. Don’t be afraid to ask for the close, and if they come back with a no on the buying decision, make sure to follow up occasionally (here’s a good timetable for that). One day they may look to switch to your product, service, or solution!
Ready to Close Deals Faster?
Understanding your prospect’s sales cycle is step one in shortening a lengthy process...and parallelizing what can be done simultaneously is your ace in the hole to speed the whole thing up.
But a client’s internal sales process is no excuse for a messy set-up on your end. Your ability to close deals, cultivate relationships, earn referrals, and streamline your side of the sales process comes down to your own organization. If you can easily handle all these tasks, you’ll see better results fast.
That’s where a good CRM comes in. Close can help sales professionals like you keep all of your leads and prospects moving forward with an array of automation and sales features, such as calling software, automated email workflows, and an array of integrations.
Want to try Close free for 14 days? All you have to do is sign up here.